Wednesday, July 7, 2010

At Last!


My first view of Mongolia!

The Welcome Scarf
Mongolian's give this scarf in welcoming to visitors. It is blue to represent peace, friendship, and blue skies.

At the top of many mountains is an awaa, a pile of stones that travelers walk around 3 times for good luck on their journey. They are also common alongside roads, but most drivers will honk three times instead of going around them.

This winter was one of the harshest Monoglia has seen in a long time. Nearly a quarter of all livestock died. As a result, the fields are littered with bones.

My "Welcome to Mongolia!" Meal
Yes, that is a sheep's head.

Aka Anklebones. A game involving the anklebones of a goat. It is actually very fun and I got so good at it that my dad started calling me a monster in Mongolian. How sweet.

For 1000 Tugricks (less than $1) , you could hold his GIANT bird of prey. I passed.

My kitchen
Correct me if I'm wrong, but are those the twins from Full House?

My room
(and yes, my bed is that thin. The other day, I removed the blanket to wash it, and I discovered - and was not surprised - that my mattress is 4 2x4's pushed together)

Milking a horse
A common snack in Mongolia is called aruul, which is made from mare's milk. It is very very strong tasting. Still haven't decided if I like it yet...

My first camel sighting!
By the way, the word for camel in Mongolian is TЭМЭЭ (pronounced teh-MEH). I have decided to name my camel Timmy, the TЭМЭЭ.

American's in Mongolia
Every Saturday, we get together in one of our gers and watch good ole American films. Here, John is being a true Mongolian host and offer the candy dish to his just arrived guests.

William Tell
These three adorable boys are my cousin-like family members. We started out with 2 kids in the family and in a month, it has grown to 7. The house is packed. It is quite common in Mongolia to inherit kids for months at a time, whether or not they are related to you.

4th of July
For the 4th, we hosted a big party for our families at a nearby lake. It was so wonderful. We made American food (fruit salad, french fries, banana pudding, potato salad, devilled eggs), sang the Star Spangled Banner, and drank beers. The only things missing were fireworks... and America, of course.

This was quite the experience. We bought the sheep from the local herder and two of our dads killed and skinned it right in front of us. It was intense. Then we cooked and ate it.

I have about 500 more pictures. And videos to boot. But, I've been here a while and, heck, I'm in Mongolia. I'm going to go do some Mongolia-esque activities (aka join some friends at a local karaoke bar and make fools of ourselves).

So as always, love and miss you terribly, send me letters and packages (mac and cheese!) and I hope all is going swimmingly in the states.

Peace out!


  1. Greetings Sarah,

    You don't know me and I just happened upon your blog from a PC page on Facebook, but I was a PC (Wat/San) Volunteer in Mauritania in the late 90's and now have two beautiful daughters from Kazakhstan.

    I love your photos and would love to follow along upon your journey. If you go private, I would love to get invited. We have a blog of our Kazakh Adoption processes at, and my email address is


  2. I'm sure it's a huge adjustment but it's looks like you're having a great experience (ok, except for that sheephead stew thing and the 2x4 bed).

    Since I met SweetYmotion at your party I've met 3 more Mongolians here in the state -- and one of them used to work with Chinbaa!! His name is Mijee and he's moving back to Mongolia this year. He gave me his parents phone number so that I could get in touch if/when I come to visit (still working on convincing your Mom to come with). Are all Mongolians as gracious as the handful I've met? I hope so.

    Sandra Luckins

  3. Sain bain uu Sarah?

    Great blog with some awesome pictures. My family moved to the states in 98 and I haven't been back for about 8 years now. Thanks for the great pictures. I got a bit homesick reading your blog.

    Keep up the good work. I don't think one can ever forget the empty blue sky and endless plains of Mongolia.

    Fair winds and following seas!